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In this guitar lesson we are going to take your rhythm bluegrass guitar playing to the next level. If you have already been working on the lesson Basic Bluegrass Strumming Pattern that’s great. If you don’t know the strumming pattern in that lesson now would be a great time to go learn it. All we are really going to be doing in this lesson is adding a few embellishments to the strumming pattern that you learned in the previous lesson. We will be in the key of G major again and we will still be using just the open G, C and D chords.
Get ready to play your basic bluegrass strumming pattern using your G major chord and keep an eye out for the hammer-on that we are going to add. Hit the 6th string with a downstroke and then strum down up on the top four strings. Now instead of coming back and playing the 2nd fret of the 5th string, play the 5th string open and then hammer on to the 2nd fret with whichever finger you were playing the 2nd fret of the 5th string. Finish off the pattern with another down up on the top four strings. That’s the basic concept. Repeat this strumming pattern four times. Now let’s apply this same idea to the C and D chords.
Get your C chord in place. Here is how you play the new version of the bluegrass strumming pattern using the open C chord. Play the 3rd fret of the 5th string using a downstroke and then strum down up on the top three strings. Now instead of playing the 2nd fret of the 4th string, play the 4th string open and then hammer-on to the 2nd fret of the 4th string with your 2nd finger. Finish the strumming pattern off with another down up on the top three strings. Play this four times before moving on to the D chord.
The strumming pattern for the D chord stays the same as it did in the basic bluegrass strumming patter. Put your D chord in place and play the open D string with a downstroke. Strum the top three with a down up. Play the open 5th string with a downstroke and finish the pattern with a down up on the top three strings. Play this four times. Go back to the G chord and play the pattern four more times before returning to the top of the progression.
That’s it, you have a new bluegrass strumming pattern down. Start out slowly with this pattern until your all of your picking and strumming strokes are accurate. Once all of the hammer-ons are clean and you can play this without hitting any wrong notes you can try speeding it up a bit. Keep an ear out for patterns like these in some of your favorite bluegrass tunes.